The First Minister has asked the Scottish public “again to make sacrifices” to help halt the spread of coronavirus.
In a televised address to the country, Nicola Sturgeon said that we “simply cannot have 100% normality” in the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes after she announced earlier that visiting or hosting people from other households in their homes will be banned across the country as cases surge throughout Scotland and the UK once more.
Pubs and restaurants will also have to close at 10pm every night from Friday, while employers should “rethink” bringing staff back into workplaces if they do not need to be there.
Sturgeon announced the new measures earlier on Tuesday before MSPs, imploring people to “stick with this”.
She followed it up with a televised speech in the evening where she accepted the latest restrictions might feel like a “step backwards” – but insisted they “will make a difference”.
In addition to the ban on visiting others inside their homes and the 10pm hospitality curfew, people are also advised not to share car journeys with anyone from outside their household.
Regulations enforcing the changes will come into place from Friday, but Sturgeon urged Scots to comply from Wednesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also gave a televised address, telling the British public that common sense is the “single greatest weapon” in the effort to suppress coronavirus.
He said there were now “too many” breaches of the rules around Covid and warned the UK faces an “unquestionably difficult” winter.
But the PM made a plea for a “spirit of togetherness” and insisted the country has “great days ahead”.
Speaking after the Prime Minister, from Edinburgh, the First Minister said: “The last six months have been unprecedented.
“They’ve been the hardest many of us have ever lived through.
“But through our collective efforts across Scotland, we did beat Covid back.
“As a result – although too much heartbreak has been endured and too many families are grieving – many lives were also saved.
“But as we enter winter, and with many lockdown restrictions now thankfully lifted, the challenge is once again getting harder.”
Sturgeon said the Scottish Government’s focus is on saving lives, keeping schools open, protecting public health and protecting jobs.
She continued: “It is to safeguard these priorities that I must ask all of you again to make sacrifice – sacrifices for our national wellbeing.
“They are not easy but please believe me when I say they are essential.
“We have decided that from Friday there will be a national curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants. They will have to close by 10pm to reduce the time people spend there.
“And from tomorrow, we are all being asked not to visit each other’s homes, because we know that is often how the virus spreads most easily from one household to another.
“There are exceptions – for care of the vulnerable, extended households, childcare and tradespeople – but generally, by staying out of other people’s houses for now, we give ourselves the best chance of bringing Covid back under control.”
“I will never find the words to thank all of you enough for the enormous sacrifices you have made so far and I am sorry to be asking for more.”First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
She reiterated the “rule of six” still applies to outdoor social gatherings, meaning six people from no more than six people can meet up.
“And because we know this is especially difficult for children and young people, we’ve tried to build in more flexibility for you,” Sturgeon continued.
“If you are younger than 12, there are no limits on playing with your friends outdoors.
“And if you are between 12 and 17 you can meet your friends outdoors in groups of 6 – but you don’t all have to be from just two households.”
The FM added: “For everyone, adults and children, I know that today must feel like a step backwards.
“But please know that thanks to all your efforts over the last six months, we are in a much stronger position than in the spring.
“Cases are rising but less rapidly than back then.
“Our Test and Protect system is working well – tracing contacts and breaking chains of transmission.
“We have much more information on how and where the virus spreads.”
Concluding her statement, Sturgeon urged people to remember “that humanity has come through even bigger challenges than this one”.
She went on: “Though it doesn’t feel like it now, this virus will pass – it won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.
“So though we are all struggling with this – and believe me, we are all struggling – let’s pull together.
“Let’s keep going, try to keep smiling, keep hoping and keep looking out for each other.
“Be strong, be kind and let’s continue to act out of love and solidarity.
“I will never find the words to thank all of you enough for the enormous sacrifices you have made so far and I am sorry to be asking for more.
“But a belief I hold on to – and one I am asking you to keep faith with in those moments when it all feels too hard – is this: if we stick with it, and above all, if we stick together, we will get through it.”
Speaking from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said “the struggle against Covid is the single biggest crisis the world has faced in my lifetime”.
He said he was “spiritually reluctant to… infringe anyone’s freedom” but insisted new measures now could help avoid a full-scale national lockdown again.
Johnson stated: “Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour.
“If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together.”
On new restrictions, he continued: “I am deeply, spiritually reluctant to make any of these impositions, or infringe anyone’s freedom, but unless we take action the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring.”
“We must take action now because a stitch in time saves nine.”Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The Prime Minister added: “If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend.
“It would mean renewed loneliness and confinement for the elderly and vulnerable, and ultimately it would threaten once again the education of our children.
“We must do all we can to avoid going down that road again.
“If people don’t follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further.
“We must take action now because a stitch in time saves nine; and this way we can keep people in work, we can keep our shops and our schools open, and we can keep our country moving forward while we work together to suppress the virus.”